PennFuture Decries Abuse of the Legislative Process for Mercury Bill

Fast Track Maneuver Bypasses Environmental Committee

Jun 23, 2006, 01:00 ET from PennFuture

    HARRISBURG, Pa., June 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Yesterday, SB 1201, which
 passed the Senate on Tuesday, was deliberately sent to the Rules Committee
 of the House of Representatives to bypass the House Environmental Resources
 and Energy Committee, which has jurisdiction over environmental bills. SB
 1201 would prohibit the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) from
 adopting a regulation requiring power plants to cut their toxic mercury
 pollution by 90 percent.
     (Logo: )
     "The assignment of SB 1201 to the House Rules Committee is exactly the
 abuse of the legislative process that voters in both parties voted to
 reject resoundingly in the May primaries," said John Hanger, PennFuture's
 President and CEO. "Every member of the House now is confronted with a
 decision: will you side with those who abuse the legislative process and
 cut out committees of jurisdiction when special interests and their
 campaign contributions demand it? Or will you side with the people of
 Pennsylvania and clean up the House, restore it to a place of honor and
 respect, by telling your leaders to move this bill back to the House
 Environmental Resources and Energy Committee?"
     The Rules Committee "met" at 3:15 p.m., and the meeting lasted less
 than one minute. There was no public notice, only the Speaker announcing
 from the podium that the Rules Committee was meeting at the Majority
 Leader's desk. No members actually went to the desk. The Speaker then
 announced SB 1201 was reported out as committed.
     "PennFuture is calling on the House to recommit this legislation to the
 Environmental Resources and Energy Committee where it belongs," continued
 Hanger. "Yesterday's machinations over SB 1201 mean that this bill is now
 about much more than the regulation of mercury polluters. It is now about
 the House of Representatives and what it stands for."
     PennFuture is a statewide public interest membership organization with
 offices in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and the newly opened
 Center for Energy, Enterprise and the Environment in West Chester.
 PennFuture has been called "Pennsylvania's leading environmental
 organization" by The Philadelphia Inquirer.

SOURCE PennFuture